Elopement vs. Wedding Ceremony

While many couples look forward to a traditional wedding ceremony, others prefer the alternative of elopement. There are pros and cons to either choice.

Bride and groom holding hands on mountain for elopementThe Advantages of Elopement
Historically, couples eloped when their families didn’t approve of the union or perhaps when starstruck lovers spontaneously decided to get married. Today, it’s not usually such a sneaky or last-minute endeavor. Modern elopement simply means foregoing the traditional wedding in favor of a simple legal ceremony that can be held almost anywhere. There are several benefits of elopement over a traditional wedding.

  • You save a great deal of money. The cost of weddings has increased exponentially in recent years. The average cost is around $30,000, which is prohibitive for some couples. Elopements are significantly cheaper, often under $1,000. This puts less pressure on you and gives you more money to spend on your honeymoon or put towards a house.
  • You can invite whoever you want. With a large wedding, you usually feel compelled to invite everyone in your family and circle of acquaintances. You can make it a smaller, more intimate event with an elopement.
  • Less stressful. Although the wedding day can be a joyful event, it can also cause a great deal of stress. There are so many moving parts that you’re constantly worried something might go wrong. With an elopement, you can relax and enjoy the ceremony.
  • Avoid disagreements over themes and traditions. If the couple’s families have different ideas about how the wedding should go, it can be challenging to decide. For example, if the bride and groom come from different religious traditions, it can cause tension. An elopement lets you avoid such complications.

Wedding party smiling outsideThe Advantages of Traditional Weddings
Although a modern wedding can be complicated, expensive, and stressful, for many couples it’s a dream they wouldn’t consider forsaking. There are several advantages to a wedding.

  • It is an unforgettable, landmark event. A wedding is a traditional celebration that many people look forward to all their lives. While some may prefer the simplicity of an elopement, others don’t want to miss the excitement and fanfare of a traditional wedding.
  • It lets you bond with family and friends. Along with the potential stress of deciding who to invite and what kind of wedding to plan, there is the fact that a wedding is a family celebration. Getting together with both couples’ extended families can be a mixed blessing. However, it can be nice to connect with people you seldom get to see otherwise. If you elope, friends and family may feel excluded.
  • You get lots of gifts. While some wedding gifts turn out to be redundant or irrelevant, others can be quite useful and welcome. Couples can guide guests into giving the most appreciated gifts by setting up a wedding registry. If you elope, you can still receive gifts, but it’s likely to be on a much smaller scale. Obviously getting more gifts isn’t a reason to have a wedding, but it’s something to consider in your list of pros and cons.

Bride and kissing with elopement sign in desertTips For a Successful Elopement
If you do decide to forego a traditional wedding and elope, there are some points to keep in mind.

  • Research Your Options – The stereotype elopement in movies is a couple heading to Las Vegas and getting married by an Elvis impersonator. However, there are actually a wide variety of choices. The cost, licensing requirements, and diversity of options depending on your location. Some couples combine an elopement and honeymoon. In this case, you’ll need to look into the requirements for getting married at your dream destination.
  • Plan a Budget – Although an elopement costs far less than the typical wedding, there will still be expenses to consider. These include the cost of the ceremony itself, licenses, travel, any meals, parties, or celebrations, and the cost of professionals you’ll still need to hire.
  • Decide How and When to Tell People – With a wedding, you send out announcements and invitations long before the wedding. With an elopement, it can be a little more complicated. It’s usually best to tell parents, close relatives, and friends, so they don’t feel blindsided later. You may need to prepare for some uncomfortable conversations, depending on how your loved ones feel about the matter. You can send out more formal announcements after the elopement.
  • Hire a Photographer – A professional wedding photographer is just as essential for an elopement as it is for a traditional wedding. No matter how simple or intimate your elopement may be, you’ll still want to have great photos to commemorate the occasion. On the positive side, since an elopement is a smaller and scaled-down event, you’ll likely have a little extra budget to really procure the best photographer that you can. Remember, a great wedding or elopement photographer is an artist who will capture those magical moments that you can relive forever.

So…Should You Have a Wedding or Elopement?
Deciding whether a traditional wedding or elopement is best for you is a very personal choice. It’s something couples should spend plenty of time discussing to make sure they are on the same page. Also remember that if saving money is your only reason for eloping, there are ways to reduce the expense of a wedding. You can always have a small, local wedding that doesn’t cost a fortune. On the other hand, if you prefer a ceremony that’s completely centered on the couple and skips all the fanfare and costs of a wedding, elopement may be the ideal choice for you.

Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

Related Posts